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Saudi Arabia agrees to release 7 Houthi rebels in exchange for POW

Saudi Arabia has agreed to release seven Houthi rebel prisoners after a Saudi prisoner of war was released safely in Riyadh. 

The release of  Mousa Awaji, a Saudi soldier, was initiated by the Houthi rebels who stated they they did not have the adequate medical equipment to care for his ailments. The UN welcomed the transfer and hopes that this could lead to a ceasefire in Yemen. 

Turki al-Maliki, a spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition, has stated that further steps have been taken to end the detention of further prisoners. It is unlikely, however, that a ceasefire will be reached between the warring sides as there has been an escalation of violence in areas like Hodeidah where accusations of wrong-doing afflict both sides. 

Despite this, Afrah Nasser, a expert Yemen political analyst told Al Jazeera that this transfer was remarkable as “they [Houthi’s] released a sick Saudi captive in order to send a message about the destroyed or devastated healthcare system”. 

The World Food Programme (WFP) has failed to access the Red Sea Mills, where 51,000 tonnes of UN wheat is stored, which would be sufficient to feed 3.7 million people for a month.